Now, on to the business of today's post. I'm doing double duty on this holiday and linking up with two fabulous bloggers!
Organization is one of my favorite topics, so I knew I had to link up with Jessica at Joy in the Journey for this week's Tricks of the Trade link up. It's all about keeping your teacher desk organized!
My must have for a teacher desk is my inbox. It is the collection place/drop box for all the important pieces of paper that need my attention.
I ordered that adorable magnet from Vistaprint a few years ago and my wonderful mother gave me the Longaberger basket as a Christmas gift right before I graduated from college!
The inbox is one of the first procedures I teach my students. Here are the things that students may put in my inbox: excuses, permission slips, notes from parents, late homework, and makeup work. I also teach students that if they come in tardy I will keep teaching and they need to place their tardy slip in my inbox, have a seat, and get in on the lesson.
This box has helped keep me sane. I could count on one hand the number of papers I've ever lost (at school) because everything goes into the inbox. In the morning as students are arriving no one ever hands me papers that I will subsequently lay down in some random place.
I make it a point to go through my inbox every day (sometimes twice a day) and take care of anything that needs some action from me. My goal is to always have an empty inbox by the end of the day.
Okay, I know you can tell I LOVE that inbox....I could really just talk about it forever...it is that good. Oh and I've seen some pretty nice plastic containers at Wal Mart that would make a perfect inbox!
I'm also joining up with I'm Lovin' Lit for the very first Thursday Throwdown.
When I think of interactive I think of engaging students in conversation and deeper thinking, so I'm going to share something I tried with my class last year and we all loved!
A few times a week at the beginning of the day I take 2 minutes and ask everyone what they are wondering. It could be anything. Some students wonder about class, recess, a special activity, a family member, and someone always wonders about what their pet is doing! I never put any "rules" to this wondering session, it was their time to share whatever they wanted.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering how this is relevant to learning? I want to send the message to my students that 1) this is a classroom for thinking and I expect them to wonder about things and 2) I WANT them to share what they are wondering about. I put a high premium on wondering and thinking just by asking this little question.
When we were in the middle of a lesson, any kind of lesson, I would stop and say, "Hmm...I'm wondering..." and students picked up on this and ran with it. It is a fabulous strategy for getting kids to predict and question when reading.
I feel like it made for a more engaging, interactive classroom community because it was sending the message that conversations about what you are wondering are encouraged in this classroom.
It also does double duty as a way very quick, fun way to get to know more about your students!
Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my Team Teaching Tips linky party.